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ROCAF General Dynamics F-16A block 20


ROCAF General Dynamics F-16A block 20  

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  1. 1. Do you think ROCAF F-16A block 20 should be added into the game in 2022 or early 2023?

    • Yes.
    • Yes, but only if it not received its full loadout for balance.
    • No. It's too soon.
    • No. It should never.

Hello! Approaching the update "Apex Predator" and the first dev sever was just opened, F-16A will come to Chinese tech tree has been announced along side with the US F-16A devblog. Since then, there is a lot of speculations in the community about which model of F-16A with what kind of ability will be added for the Chinese tree in the game. There's many different information and opinions about the true capability of ROCAF's F-16A, sometime contradict to each others in the western community. Some claim block 20 are just Block 10 renamed; some claim block 20 are block 15 OCU. People are especially confuse about the naming of "Block 20", mostly due to the lack of detail information on English credibility sites like F-16.net or came from other sources of misinformation. For me as a Chinese language user, I will try my best to present the most likely accurate information about F-16A block 20 irl that I gather from English, Chinese and Taiwanese sources for more detailed and grounded facts.


ROCAF F-16B block 20, no.6814, 2001

History of ROCAF Acquiring F-16

Taiwanese air force (ROCAF) have trying to acquire F-16 since the 1970s. During the time, the US seen improving the US-China relation as a higher priority in order to further disassociating Soviet and China. The Carter's Arms Policy and 1979 Taiwan Relations Act both practically blocked Taiwan from acquiring more advance military equipment like F-16A and F-20 Tiger shark. F-16/79 was once been considered for possible export but its weakened in performance failed to appeal anyone. F-16A is not only better in all ability then any Chinese air superiority fighter at that time, but also too technologically advance for Taiwanese to maintain in US perspective. The request of exporting F-16 to Taiwan was not granted until the 1990s.

Everything have changed in the year of 1989. This year, Taiwan successfully rolled out and tested flight their first domestically developed F-CK-1 fighter jet, demonstrated the ability to fully handle and maintain the technologies of a BVR capable third-generation fighter. Taiwanese also made a deal with France Dassault to buy 60 units of Mirage 2000-5 fighter jet, marking the France further carve out of the Asia arm sales market from the US. In June 1989, a certain huge political incident happened in China has also proven that a liberalized  middle class China was just a dream of the westerner. The US-China relation have reached its lowest point in the decade. In 1992, intels showed that Chinese has started to acquire Soviet Su-27 heavy fighter with R-27 BVR missiles. 

Having all the factors above, the George H. W. Bush government finally agreed to export 150 units of F-16A/B to Taiwan in September 1992. The first unit of F-16A/B block 20 was rolled out in 1996, and arrived at Taiwan in 1997. In total, 120 units of F-16A and 30 units of F-16B were  delivered to Taiwan. 140 of them are still in service today.



The 455th Tactical Fighter Wing F-16A fully operational ceremony, 2001/12/28. F-16A 6635 in air superiority configuration equipped with AIM-9Mx4, AIM-7Mx2 and AN/ALQ-184 ECM pod.


An Overview of F-16 Blocks before blk20

In the early 1990s, General Dynamics's F-16 variants have evolved its capability from a light air superiority dogfighter into a capable multi-role all-weather BVR capable fighter platform.

Blocks are the best designation for F-16 variants to distinguish their evolving capability. Notably blocks are listed in chronological orders beneath: 

  • (1978) F-16A/B Block 1/5/10: The early batches of production F-16.
    • Use F100-PW-200 engine.
    • Carrying AIM-9L and AN/APG-66 radar.
    • Have smaller horizontal stabilizers.
    • All block 1/5 were eventually upgrade align with the block 10.
  • (1982) F-16A/B Block 15: The first major improved batch of F-16.
    • Added new hardpoints (5R, 5L) under the intake for targeting pods such as AN/AAS-35.
    • Have a 30% larger horizontal stabilizers to compensate the weight difference. This also improved overall turn authority and AOA performance.

An early scratch of a F-16A Block 1/5/10 with shorter tailplane. Its edge is align with the airbrake. After block 15 all tailplane have been increase 30% in area.


F-16C/D then introduced in 1984 to bringing the major upgrade to F-16's mission capability with larger AN/APG-68 series radar and GE's F110 series engine for BVR and ground strike ability.

  • (1984) F-16C/D Block 25:

    • Improvement in fire control, avionics and introduced digital fly-by-wire system.

    • Use F100-PW-200 and later 220E engine. 

    • Use AN/APG-68 radar, AIM-7&120 capable.

  • (1987) F-16C/D Block 30:

    • Upgrade engine to more powerful F110-GE-100 with enlarged "bigmouth" air intake.

    • Added guidance, ECM equipment and HARM missile capable.

    • Later upgrade its payload align with Block 40/42.

  • (1987) F-16C/D Block 32: Block 30 but use smaller F110-GE-220 with "smallmouth" intake.


Smallmouth intake (above) versus bigmouth intake (below).



In 1988, rolled out the first large upgrade package for the older F-16A/B which are called OCU(Operational Capability Upgrade). The OCU applied to all of the block 1/5/10 and block 15 F-16 in active service during the time, and also apply to all future built block 15. (BTW the F-16A in the US tech tree in game is most likely a F-16 Block 10 with OCU)

  • (1988) F-16A/B Block 15 OCU:
    • Upgrade to stability-improved F100-PW-220E engine. 
    • Upgrade avionics and HUD to align with the C/D variant's standard.
    • Prevision wiring for AIM-7&120 and ECMs but not yet capable.
  • (1988) F-16C/D Block 40: 
    • Use F110-GE-100 engine.
    • Upgrade for equipping LANTIRN pods and other night vision devices, making the fighter all-weather capable.
    • Later upgraded the payload capability to align with the block 50/52 in 2002.
  • (1988) F-16C/D Block 42: Block 40 but use smaller F110-GE-220 with smallmouth intake.
  • (1989) F-16A/B Block 15 ADF: An upgrade program extended from the Block 15 OCU for the US Air National Guard mainly for CAP mission only. 
    • Use APX-109 IFF with "Bird slicer" antenna.
    • Upgrade to AN/APG-66A with look down/shoot-down and CW illumination ability.
    • The first F-16A/B that was able to fire AIM-7 and later AIM-120.
  • (1991) F-16C/D Block 50:
    • Upgrade engine to more matured F110-GE-129. 
    • Improve on GPS/INS guidance and weaponry including JDAM, JSOW, WCMD, EGBU-27 and other precision/GPS guided weapons.
  • (1991) F-16C/D Block 52: Block 50 but with F100-PW-229 engine with smallmouth intake. 

Fellow up in 1995, the MLU (Mid-Life Upgrade) program for the F-16A/B Block 15 of the US allies has started. This upgrade used the existing parts on the new production line and other equipment to upgrade old F-16A/B fleets to the 90s capability standard. All new F-16A/B Block 15 produced after this until 1996 were also aligned with the MLU standard. This MLU package have several sub-versions with more capabilities included in the following years for different nations, continue all the way into 2010s.

  • (1995) F-16A/B Block 15 MLU: 
    • Upgraded capabilities include better GPS/INS guidance.
    •  AN/APG-66(V)2 radar, with ground-following capability, enable AIM-7 and AIM-120.
    • Improved IFF, NVD for all-weather conditions, improved HUD, MFD, and other computer and avionic improvements.
    • Also added intake hardpoints and large tails for the old blk10 airframe. The landing gear lights were also moved from the main gears' strut to the nose gear door in order to not been blocked by larger pods.

Finally, it came to the main topic: F-16A/B Block 20.  George H. W. Bush government purposely choose to only agree to export F-16A/B airframe but not F-16C/D to Taiwan in 1992 due to not wanting to further irritate China . The "Block 20" was reserved for later F-16A/B variant in the early 80s, and it finally was put into use. However, apart from the engine and radar, most of the equipment on the block 20 are align with those on the production line at that time, similar to the blk15 MLU program result during the same period.

  • (1996) F-16A/B Block 20:
    • Use  F110-GE-220 engine with smallmouth intake, 5L/5R hardpoints and landing gears from block 42.
    • Main fuselage and analog fly-by-wire system from late block 15 OCU (wings and tail surfaces are from block 52)
    • Avionics and ECM package of block 15 MLU.
    • With AN/APG-66(V)3 radar, AIM-7 capable, and reserve the capacity for AIM-120 (2001), LANTIRN(1998) and other targeting pods.

The later converted blk15 MLU from European nations after the Taiwanese block 20 sometime are also refer to "block 20 MLU" informally. Although Taiwanese block 20 have never endure any MLU upgrade cause it's already up to MLU standard from the get-go. The real "mid-life upgrade" equivalent for the Taiwanese block 20 are the F-16V upgrade in 2017.

Later major F-16 block variants includes:

  • (2003) F-16E/F Block 60:

    • Powered by F110-GE-132 engine.

    • Use AN/APG-80 AESA radar and other upgraded advance avionics, fire controls and integrated ECM jammer.

    • Enable the use of AIM-132 ASRAAM and AGM-84E SLAM.

    • Added conformal fuel tanks for extended range.

  • (2012) F-16V Block 70: (More detail mentioned below, final configuration undecided.)

The Block 20s and the Upgrades

General characteristics of F-16A/B block 20:

  • Power plant: Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-220
  • Thrust: Military Thrust: 64.9 kN (14,670 lbf ); Maximum Afterburn Thrust: 106 kN (23,830 lbf)
  • Wingspan: 31 feet (9.45 meters)
  • Length: 47 feet 8 inches (15.02 meters)
  • Height: 16 feet 8 inches (5.09 meters)
  • Wing area: 300 ft (27.87m 2)
  • Empty weight: 18,238 lbs (8,273 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 37,500 lbs (17,010 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 7,000 pounds internal (3,175 kilograms), 12,000 pounds with two external tanks (5,443 kilograms)
  • Speed: 1,318 mph (Mach 2.05 at altitude)
  • Ferry range: 2,278 nautical miles, with three external tanks 4,220 nautical miles
  • Ceiling: 60,000 feet (18.3 kilometers)

Most of the information of Taiwanese block 20 and its upgrades are quite  sparse in western  community due to US's low-profile attitude toward Taiwanese arm sales and ROCAF's own secrecy convention. However, the news of upgrading each years are fairly easy to find in Chinese languages. Fortunately, the dedicated Wiki page in Chinese for Taiwanese F-16 block 20 has gather most of these news record in an easy to read way.

F-16A/B block 20 use by the ROCAF contain these capability when delivered in 1996:

  • Radar: AN/APG-66(V)3 Solid state pulse-Doppler X-band radar with max. range of 80 nautical miles (150km). 
    • Azimuth angular coverage: ±10°/±30°/±60º.
    • Continuous wave (CW) illumination capable.
    • TWS mode: track 10, guided 6. 
    • Ground-mapping capability.
  • Avionics:
    • MMC-3000 modular mission computer with Link16 datalink.
    • INS: LN-93 ring laser gyroscope. 
    • AN/APX-113(V) IFF transponder with "Bird Slicer" Antennas.
    • AN/ALR-56M threat warning system.  
    • AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser. 
    • Digital map and MLS from Bae system. 
    • PHUD same with F-16C/D.
    • Two Honeywell's colored multifunction displays.
  • Anti-air Armament:
    • 20mm M61A1 Vulcan autocannon(511 rounds API/HEIT)
    • AIM-9M Sidewinder all-aspect IR missile (also use AIM-9P4) (edit: Taiwan didn't get AIM-9L export permission from the US in the 80s and never since.)
    • AIM-7M Sparrow semi-active missile. 
  • Air-to-ground Armament: 
    • M117 750lb bomb
    • Mk82/Snake Eye high-drag 500lb bomb, Mk83 1000lb bomb, Mk84 2000lb bomb
    • LAU-3/60/131 70mm rocket pod
    • CBU-100 Cluster Bomb
    • BLU-1B&E 750lb fire bomb
    • AGM-65B&G Maverick Air-to-Ground missile
    • AGM-84G Harpoon air-to-surface anti-ship missile.
  • Utility pods: 
    • AN/ALQ-184 ECM pod
    • AN/ALE-50 towed decoy system
    • LANTIRN night vison and navigation pods (lowered capability for export, with AN/AAQ-20 replaced AN/AAQ-13)
    • AN/VDS-5 LOROP-EO reconnaissance pod.



A ROCAF F-16A from the 23rd Tactical Fighter Group during CAP mission, not later than 2008. Equipped with two AIM-120C-5, two AIM-9M and AN/ALQ-184 ECM pod.



After the original deal, there're multiple incremental upgrades to the following years:

  • (2001) Import AIM-120C-5 AMRAAM from the US. Upgrade to MMC-3051 modular mission computer and enable AIM-120 capability.
  • (2002) Received AN/AAQ-14 Sharpshooter targeting pod, AN/AAQ-20 Pathfinder navigation pod, enable the capability of guiding GBU-10 Paveway and GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided bomb. 
  • (2007) Acquired improved weapon variants of AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM, AGM-65G-2 Maverick, and AGM-84L Harpoon.
  • (2012-2017) A major upgrade package designated "Viper" being research. Package notablily includes:
    • Upgrade AN/APG-83 SABR radar
    • JHMCS Helmet Mounted Cueing System
    • AIM-9X Sidewinder with off-boresight capability
    • AN/ALQ-213 Electronic Warfare Management System
    • JDAM with BRU-57 Multiple Carriage Rack
    • Have Glass II RCS reduction paint. 
    • AN/ALQ-184(V)7 ECM pod. 
    • AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER targeting pod.

All F-16A/B block 20 after this upgrade now referred as F-16V block 20. However in formal ROCAF designation referred as F-16AM/BM (same as how European nations refer to their F-16 block15 after the MLU). The upgrade for all active 140 units of F-16A/B block 20 are planned to complete in 2023.

  • (2019) Acquired MS-110 reconnaissance pod.
  • (2022) AGM-88E HARM anti-radiation missile delivered.
  • (2023) AGCAS Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System integration. (on-going modification, took longer time because it's analog fly-by-wire system on blk20.)
  • (2026) AGM-154C JSOW (planned delivered)

In 2019, Taiwanese government successfully granted permission to acquire 66 units of new-build F-16C/D block 70 from the US during the Trump administration. The first batch of fighters are expected to be delivered in late 2025. 


ROCAF F-16 Block 20 is a 1996 late variant of F-16A/B airframe which is not at all an old fighter compare to other rank 7&8 jets in game. Their capability are initially align with the block 15 MLU and have received upgrades along the following years.

In game, for the update "Apex Predator", the US and Israel tech trees are both introducing the first F-16A in game, which is a F-16A block 10 with OCU upgrade. It is powered by F100-PW-220 engine and can carrier 6 AIM-9L. If Gaijin are going to add ROCAF block 20 in the same update, even with its very first configuration, this will mean adding an AIM-7M (which is in the dev sever files) capable F-16 with very good radar into the newly raised 11.7 br. Plus might having access to targeting pod and Paveway guided bomb, this will make the Chinese tech tree holding one of the most powerful and the most advanced top tier jet in the game. Is this the most balanced choose for Gaijin to make? Will Gaijin nerf its loadout during the initial implementation? We'll see soon.











Chinese sources:






F-16A from 455th Tactical Fighter Wing equipped with AIM-9Mx4, Mk82 500lbs bomb x12, LANTIRN pods (AN/AAQ-20 at station 5L and AN/AAQ-14 at 5R). Shot not later than 2009.




F-16B from the 17th Tactical Fighter Group equipped with AGM-84G and AIM-9M, 2012.



F-16A from 455th Tactical Fighter Wing drop two GBU-12 with AN/AAQ-14 targeting pods (LANTIRN), not later then 2020.




F-16AM after Viper upgrade equipped with six AIM-120C-7, AN/AAQ-33 at 5R, AN/AAQ-20 at 5L and AN/ALQ-184(V)7 at center line, 2021/11/18. Still remained the "smallmouth" intake.




F-16AM from 23rd Tactical Fighter Group equipped with two AIM-9X, two AIM-120C-7, six GBU-12, AN/AAQ-33 and AN/ALQ-184(V)7, 2021/11/18.







Edited by Mc0417
weapon loadout correction: no aim-9L and other minor corrections
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  • AIM-9M Sidewinder all-aspect IR missile (also use AIM-9P&L)

No they don't   ROCAF didn't bought AIM-9L  



ROCAF's Sidewinder Inventory
AIM-9P4 thousands of rounds for F-5E/F
AIM-9S Around 500  for AH-1W
AIM-9M about 900
AIM-9X currently bought 140

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I think this poll is indefinitly reduncant. The jet is 100% coming, but I feel that you are suggesting new upgrades and mods for the aircraft. It would be better to ask "how many variants (in the tech tree) we want?" than to ask yes/no on this question.


Still a big thank you for the research and showing the history of ROCAF F-16s. I shall link to your post as I create another one in the Chinese aircraft forums. It will be similar to this kind of post, but excuse me that I had to use your post as a reference. 



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+ New 4th gen multirole fighter aircraft top tier early rank 8 for china tech tree, there's a possibility that from dev server might be F-16A Block 20 1996 version

at least developer might consider AIM-7M replace AIM-7F in major update "Apex Predator" after to live server and next year could add AIM-9M replace AIM-9L later




Edited by oom1992

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2 hours ago, oom1992 said:

+ New 4th gen multirole fighter aircraft top tier early rank 8 for china tech tree, there's a possibility that from dev server might be F-16A Block 20 1996 version

at least developer might consider AIM-7M replace AIM-7F in major update "Apex Predator" after to live server and next year could add AIM-9M replace AIM-9L later





I would say trade the missiles off a bit. Nerf the IR to AIM9P-4 at best, and then add AIM-7M as counterbalance. Time will tell whether F-16A MLU will be more balanced against peers.

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  • Senior Suggestion Moderator

Moved to Implemented Suggestions. :salute:

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